Defied odds to keep ‘Golden Arrowhead’ aloft
By Franklin Wilson
Unlike a few privileged sports in Guyana today who are supported financially by all, our Powerlifters despite a proven track record of top results had to endure tough times in order to make their way to the 5th IPF/NAPF Caribbean Powerlifting Championships which ended on Saturday last in the Cayman Islands.
The Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPF) which is led by President Peter Green made sure they did their homework in terms of putting together the stats on each athlete they had identified for these championships.
Green carefully compiled the relevant information as he sought to convince potential sponsors that they were backing top flight athletes.
The GAPF did not stop there, they held a fund raising bar-b-que in order to assist themselves while a few of the athletes dug deep into their pockets to supplement whatever assistance the federation was successful to attract.
Despite their best efforts, finances was always a threat to fielding a full strength team; the initial shortlist was 8 which was them whittled down to six then four but as fate would have it, a team of six athletes including the lone female, Dawn Barker, were able to attend.
Team Coach/Manager/Athlete, ‘Big’ John Edwards, pertinently stated on Saturday evening while chatting with this reporter that, “You never underestimate a team that is out to prove they can win under any condition.”
With about two days to go to the team’s departure, President Green had already stepped down from going and indicated that he was going to put his fare towards an athlete being able to go. Eventually, five males, Edwards, Colin ‘Mr. Clean’ Chesney, Karel Mars, Kenneth Melville and Randolph Morgan and Barker left Guyana confident of taking care of the opposition and fighting hard to retain the team title they won for the first time ever when the championships were hosted here at the Princess Hotel, 2010.
The rest now is history; these sports pages carried the gold medal winning performances of our athletes on day one and two.
The phenomenal Randolph Morgan of Body Max Gym was named for the 3rd consecutive year as the best overall lifter after taking the gold medal for as many years in the 82.5kg/83.0kg Men’s Open (Middleweight) weight class.
Morgan’s best squat was 297kgs / 655lbs; bench press 215kgs / 474lbs; deadlift 297.5kgs / 655.9lbs. The Guyana Police Force Rank attempted to become the first Guyanese to break the 700lbs deadlift barrier in any weight class but his effort of 320kgs / 705.6lbs failed.
Morgan’s best in the deadlift remains 310kgs which he accomplished in Puerto Rico last year.
Morgan’s amazing dominance at the overall level continued for the 3rd successive year when he was named the best overall lifter.
Dawn Barker of the Upper Demerara Barbell Club brushed aside the challenges of her peers ending as the best in the heavyweight class (84kgs & 84+kgs classes combined).
Barker, who also captured the best overall female athlete accolade, becoming the first Guyanese to do so at the International and Caribbean level, set new national and Caribbean records in all her lifts and overall score. The modest athlete achieved a squat of 227.5kgs / 501.5lbs; benchpress 107.5kgs / 237lbs; deadlift 182.5kgs / 402.3lbs for an overall total of 517kgs. Barker is also the first Guyanese to break the 500lbs squat barrier.
In other results: Kenneth Melville of Essequibo (105.0kg) Men Juniors B (83.0kg – 120.0+kg) captured gold.
Karel Mars (Buddy’s Gym) 105.0kg – Men Open took gold Squat 307.5kg / bench 197.5kg / dead lift 295kg / total 800.0kg.
John Edwards (Kingsrow Barbell Club) 120.0kg – Men Open; gold and was also the gold medalist in the 120.0kg Men Masters M1 division.
Guyana lost out on the team title for both men and women to Trinidad and Tobago.
Edwards was also named the best overall lifter among the Masters.
The Team arrived in Guyana yesterday around 01:30hrs and was met by a GAPF Welcoming party which included General Secretary Gordon Spencer, PRO Denroy Livan along with National lifters Winston Stoby and Paul Adams.
President Green commented on arrival: “I am proud of the fact that even with limited resources Team Guyana held their heads high and gave this Country something to be proud about. As sports ambassadors definitely a lot of Caribbean Countries look to us with new found respect. Unintentionally they have become au fait with the National Anthem having to stand and listen as it is played constantly for the champions each time they took to the podium as first place winners.”
Guyana ended with 6 gold medals and 1 bronze.
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